Some ice auger tips

?Let’s face it, without a auger, anglers in Sunset Country are not going to put a lot of fish on the ice.
Whether you choose a hand model or a power version, there are tricks to get the most out of your auger that will allow you to get in more time fishing and less time working.
I run into people on the ice all the time who start their power auger, only to have it die seconds later. The same routine happens multiple times before the auger finally digs a hole through the ice.
Power auger engines are finicky units and most often are used under extreme conditions. But there are things you can do to make your machine run smoothly—and most of these require little skill or time commitment.
First, always run premium 91 octane gas in your auger. It will cost about 50 cents to fill the tank, but it is a small price to pay to keep your motor running smoothly. It just performs better under extreme conditions and is less likely to cause carburation problems.
Add fuel stabilizer to your gas, as well. I usually mix up a gallon of gas at a time in the proper fuel/oil mixture and this will last me a couple weeks.
Keep the blades sharp! This should go without saying, but if you want your auger to perform the way it should, you have to make sure the blades are sharp.
I really like StrikeMaster augers—they have the best blade technology available and cut holes faster than any other auger. You absolutely have to be careful to keep the blades sharp on these units, though. If they get dull, it’s tough to drill a hole.
One of my good friends has a 10-inch StrikeMaster and last winter he lost the cover for the blades. He toted it around all winter without the cover and the blades eventually got dull.
Now it takes him five minutes to drill one hole where it takes me 10 seconds.
On hand augers, sharp blades are even more key, so it is very important to always keep the cover on the blades when the auger is not in use.
I can remember when I was young and we used to always use a hand auger. Unfortunately, most of my memories are of dull blades and how it would take a professional athlete’s workout to drill a hole.
StrikeMaster also recommends anglers change the fuel in their augers if it hasn’t been used for more than 30 days. If you don’t, the gas can become “stale” or condensate, which will make engine operation difficult.
The air filter should be exchanged every 25 operating hours and the spark plugs should be changed after 100 hours of use.
Finally, with the mid-winter conditions we are faced with now, the ice has gotten quite thick. Anytime you are drilling through more than two feet of ice (which we have now), drill until you feel you are close to going through and then quickly pull the auger out of the hole to remove some of the ice.
This will make it much easier to get through the last little bit of ice without the auger jamming up, and takes some of the stress off the engine.
I always like to kick the wet ice mounds away from my hole, as well, for two reasons. One, so that snowmobilers don’t run over them and have an accident. And two, so that other anglers won’t notice your hotspots as easily.

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